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Annual MERS Christmas Letter 2006
December 1, 2006
Dear Friends of Monhegan,
Winter Greetings from Monhegan. M.E.R.S. needs help. Our 2005 Annual Fund Drive left us with a $15,000 shortfall for 2006. Our income from the 2005 Christmas letter fell from $17,000 to $9,000 and our 2005 General Contributions fell from $12,000 to $5,000. Our Summer Fundraisers performed well, but all the dances in the world can't make up the $15,000 difference. We need some help. This organization needs a fat financial shot in the arm. Won't you help support those who volunteer their time to be there for you or your loved ones in the event of an emergency?
You may have noticed our change in format for our annual M.E.R.S. letter. We usually use a donated image of an artist's painting on a professionally printed greeting card. This year, given our dire financial circumstances, we decided to forgo the expensive layout. We apologize to all of you for this. We know you like the paintings, but clearly this is a sign of our overall financial shortfall. Also, this past spring we tried to understand why our annual letter got such a paltry response in 2005. Was it gift giving for Katrina, lack of support for M.E.R.S., or some random clerical error at the postcard printers? Many M.E.R.S. supporters said they simply never got our letter. So this year I'm personally putting every address label on!
After 20 years of service, Faryl Wiley will not be renewing her license in 2007. Her service and dedication to our community over the past two decades, not to mention the sheer will needed to keep M.E.R.S. functioning and afloat, is an inspiration for community involvement. After all her time and effort, Faryl will not get a big retirement party or a gold watch for her service--all she has requested is that we work to keep M.E.R.S. responding to Monhegan's emergency needs. Can we do that?
As of Feb 1, 2007 Monhegan will have only two licensed EMT's. We have been trying to get State approval for a First Responder class here on island to add trained personnel to our service. But the State is as badly understaffed as Monhegan and the rest of the country after 9/11. We are still striving to get approval for this educational opportunity. However, our population base is so small it is impossible for most residents to make a living in summer months and be able to take time away from work to cover emergency calls. Fortunately, a few are willing to try. But it is time to ask for your participation as well. Your time and talents are needed! Can you spearhead a fundraiser for M.E.R.S.? Can you sign up for a First Responder class in your area? Can you help us help Monhegan?
Last summer's events began with our spring first aid class gathering participants from the Island Inn, Trailing Yew and Monhegan Fire Department, a successful class which helped sort out emergency patients from clinical patients all summer. In June we had Slim Jim and the Mad Cows perform at the schoolhouse, a highly attended rockin' show! In July we had the Wet Paint Auction, a second year of success from our artist community's generosity. Several dances were held by Island Inn staff at the School for the benefit of M.E.R.S. and I am still surprised and thrilled at their individual dedication to our rescue service! Then we finished up the year's fundraising events in August with Chowderfest, hosted by our own Tara Hire who did an amazing job. Thank you to all who participated!
Our Doc-on-a-Rock program grows more successful each year. Having volunteer doctors on-island really helps lighten the summers' burden of emergency medical care otherwise shouldered by our two practicing EMT's. Given our financial difficulties, this program was on the chopping block, due to its inherent costs. But it's now an integral part of our functioning and if it goes, we go. We have recently learned that our program can be open to licensed and insured doctors from any state, not just Maine. Note that our program is open to Paramedics, PA's, and Physicians though we are still trying to obtain permission for RN's to participate. Please email us for more information about our program for 2007, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some of you may not know that M.E.R.S. receives no funding from the Plantation, the State or the Federal Government. We are entirely supported by the generosity of our local and visiting population. This year, we started the season with a very serious 911 call: a Search and Rescue, an elderly male with a serious head injury involving multiple avulsions and lacerations to the face, scalp, chest, arms, and hands. This depleted our supplies; when word got to the Associates, the President, Joanne Scott, gave the remainder of her discretionary budget, $700, to M.E.R.S. We have never needed it more. As the vast majority of our rescues are on Associate's land, this was a particularly appropriate gift, which I hope we will see again. It took thirty volunteers four hours to get that poor man to the boat for immediate transport to the hospital. We passed him hand-to-hand up a steep and dangerous incline and through the woods. He ended up with too many staples and stitches to count--but is now doing fine. The supplies we used on this one 911 call depleted our already low stock and the emergency spring donations helped us to restock for the summer's 911 calls. And did we have them! This summer was the worst summer yet for head injuries; luckily, everyone survived.
We have a great group of willing and able young year-rounders out here, with some fantastic ideas about how to make M.E.R.S. better and more efficient. Some of these ideas include getting a specially equipped Rescue ATV and improving the barn to include a patient room and simple housing for the Doc-on-a-Rock in the summer, and an EMT teacher in the winter. But we need financial help to make these ideas come to life. We started fundraising three years ago for a rescue vehicle to take the place of our decommissioned ambulance; we never made our financial goal. Now we are fundraising for our very survival. With our long-time visitor population aging and half of everyone on blood thinners, the injuries are getting worse each year. What will Monhegan do without M.E.R.S.? Imagine Monhegan without M.E.R.S.; no gift is too small.
Together we can insure that Monhegan always has a well-staffed, well-funded and well-equipped emergency medical team.
Thanks so much for your continued generosity and support for M.E.R.S., and thanks for helping us continue to bring emergency medical services to Monhegan Island.
With our very best wishes for the holidays,
Susan McDonough, Director